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Keywords:

  • migrant farmworker;
  • housing conditions;
  • substandard housing;
  • housing standards;
  • enforcement

Abstract

Background

The quality of housing provided to migrant farmworkers is often criticized, but few studies have investigated these housing conditions. This analysis examines housing regulation violations experienced by migrant farmworkers in North Carolina, and the associations of camp characteristics with the presence of housing violations.

Methods

Data were collected in183 eastern North Carolina migrant farmworker camps in 2010. Housing regulation violations for the domains of camp, sleeping room, bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and general housing, as well as total violations were assessed using North Carolina Department of Labor standards.

Results

Violations of housing regulations were common, ranging from 4 to 22 per camp. Housing regulation violations were common in all domains; the mean number of camp violations was 1.6, of sleeping room violations was 3.8, of bathroom violations was 4.5, of kitchen violations was 2.3, of laundry room violations was 1.2, and of general housing violations was 3.1. The mean number of total housing violations was 11.4. Several camp characteristics were consistently associated with the number of violations; camps with workers having H-2A visas, with North Carolina Department of Labor Certificates of Inspection posted, and assessed early in the season had fewer violations.

Conclusions

These results argue for regulatory changes to improve the quality of housing provided to migrant farmworkers, including stronger regulations and the more vigorous enforcement of existing regulations. Am. J. Ind. Med. 55:191–204, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.